The EU has agreed to permanently re-settle up to 10,000 Iraqi refugees currently living in camps in Syria and Jordan into Europe, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told journalists in Brussels on Thursday.
Some 2,500 refugees will be able to live in Germany
Germany will take in a quarter of the number, drawn from the most vulnerable parts of the refugee population, he said after a meeting with European Union counterparts in Brussels.
At the meeting, ministers debated a report from a group of EU experts who visited refugee camps in Syria and Jordan in early November, with an eye to assessing the refugees' needs.
The report concluded that most refugees would ultimately return home, but that a significant minority were in urgent need of re-settlement beyond the Middle East, either because of medical problems or because they belong to minorities who have been particularly targeted in Iraq's conflict.
It pointed out that the EU's 27 member states have only taken in a tiny number of refugees -- just over 1,000 -- in the last two years, compared with a figure 10 times higher in the United States, and highlighted a call from the United Nations for the EU to do more.